Quality may be defined as a set of requirements a system should satisfy in order to meet customer’s needs. Control of these requirements assures satisfaction of relevant standards, and consequently the performance levels of a manufacturing/transactional stream. In this context it is fundamental to define control procedures and reliable measurement systems adequate for adopting improvement action as soon as anomalies and dysfunctions are detected. This paper deals with a study of measurement variability occurring during practical exploitation of CMMs (Coordinate Measuring Machines). These measurement systems are designed to probe selected points of workpiece surface, and compare the relevant coordinates or derived quantities with specified values; capability and versatility of CMMs justify their widespread use in industry. Evaluation of CMM measurement variability is however often awkward owing to a number of factors, such as e.g. measurement task, environment, operator and measurement procedures. A round robin exercise involving two industrial laboratories was planned in order to address these issues. Three typical machine tool parts were circulated among participants, who were asked to measure linear dimensions as well as tolerances at specified locations, according to an agreed upon schedule. Results of measurements, performed by experienced CMM industrial users, were analyzed in order to bring out discrepancies, and suggest remedial actions in the light of information gathered. Several factors involving metrological as well as other aspects were observed to cause major discrepancies, yielding in turn information on where to look for potential sources of trouble. Conclusions were drawn in terms of operating procedure, leading to improved information on origin and components of variability.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.